At the start of a new year, many are refreshing their goals of being more active or improving their diet. If these are your goals, we would like to show you how essential oils can help you achieve them. The information below is a compilation from the new sections, “Essential Living for a Balanced, Healthy Life,” “Nutrition and Essential Oils,” and “Exercise and Essential Oils,” found in the 7th edition of Modern Essentials™.
Physical Health: Nutrition
Modern research is finding that food may be the most basic of preventative medicines. There is no magic concoction that will guarantee that you get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. Eating properly is the easiest way to control your health and ensure that your body is provided with all the nutrients it needs.
Developing a healthy diet depends on daily consistency. Following the below guidelines will provide a solid foundation to a healthy diet that will quickly become second nature.
6 Principles of Good Nutrition
1. Adequacy: Getting enough of what you need.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are 3 necessary nutrients that provide fuel for the body. The other 3 nutrients—vitamins, minerals, and water—are chemicals used by the body to convert carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into energy.
Sufficient amounts of water are needed to regulate the body’s chemical processes, excrete waste as urine, control body temperature through sweat, and humidify the air we breathe. Eating a nutritionally-dense diet is the easiest way to guarantee the consumption of needed nutrients in adequate amounts. Fresh foods, rather than process foods, are more likely to provide the proper amounts of nutrients needed by the body.
2. Balance: Getting the right amount of what you need.
Cells need the right balance of nutrients to thrive. Too much of a nutrient or too little of a nutrient can cause disease. Eating nutritious foods is the best way to ensure you that you are harvesting all your needed nutrients from your diet. Nutrition supplements are meant to supplement good eating, not replace it. Fad diets, that list main food groups to avoid, will not help and will probably do more damage than good. The more restricted a diet is, the more likely a diet will be nutritionally deficient. If you are following a diet, you will need to plan a little more carefully to ensure you are still getting all the basic nutrients.
3. Calorie Control: Getting the right amount of energy.
Energy intake is directly associated with energy expenditure. Active adults, growing teenagers, and pregnant women require different calorie consumption than the average adult. The most effective way to control calorie consumption is by spreading out food intake over the whole day. Eating small, nutrient balanced meals throughout the day will help maintain a level energy state and avoid excessive hunger.
4. Nutritional Density: Getting the most from your calories.
In general, the more processed a food is, the less nutritionally dense it is. We are bombarded with nutritionally weak food choices that will fill us up but leave us deficient in many needed vitamins and minerals. When trying to determine which foods are nutritionally dense, remember that real foods, like fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, will provide more nutrition that processed foods, like potato chips, fruit juices, and white bread.
5. Moderation: Getting just enough—not too much.
Eat an assortment of grains, vegetables, fruits, protein foods, and dairy. Most people will not have a hard time eating moderate amounts of these basic food groups. However, foods rich in salt, sugar, and fat should be eaten moderately. Some suggest that if you crave sweets or processed foods, you can eat 100 calories of it without doing damage to your body. Eating just a little can help you satisfy your craving and move on.
6. Variety: Getting nutrients—not bored.
A monotonous diet is likely to produce deficiencies in certain food groups and even certain nutrients. Trying new foods and recipes is an exciting and enjoyable way to add variety to your diet.
Physical Health: Exercise
A strong argument can be made that regular, sustained exercise is even more important to maintaining a healthy body weight than just limiting the number of calories we consume. In addition to contributing to overall health, regular exercise can help increase energy, build muscle, promote healthy body weight, enhance cardiovascular health, increase flexibility, and contribute to better mental and emotional health.
Essential oils can support the body and mind in many different ways to help enhance success during exercise. Modern Essentials™ contains more information about the many ways exercise can support the body and some of the many ways essential oils can help support the body before, during, and after physical activity.
3 Principles of Healthy Activity
1. Regular: Building Habits
A study showed that people who binge exercised throughout their life only had a slightly lower chance of heart disease than people who didn’t exercise at all. On the other hand, it is estimated that those living a sedentary lifestyle have approximately twice the risk of developing coronary heart disease than those who exercise regularly.
- Aerobic: Building the Cardiovascular System. Aerobic exercises include activities such as dancing, walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling, hiking, tennis, or basketball.
- Resistance: Building Muscle. Some resistance exercises include weightlifting, elastic resistance, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and yoga. Keeping up your muscle mass is important because it helps your body keep dexterity and bone mass. Increased muscle mass can help increase overall metabolism in the body, as muscle tissue naturally burns more calories than fat tissue.
- Flexibility: Building Range of Motion. Sufficient flexibility of muscles, tendons, and connective tissue is important in maintaining proper posture and helping to prevent injuries. Stretching before and after strenuous physical activity can be a good way to help prevent injury and to keep muscles loose.
3. Variety: Building an Active Lifestyle.
It is important to change up your exercise activities so you don’t get bored. Find things you enjoy doing, and do something different every day.
Principles of Making Goals
- Take a good, hard look at where you are now. It is important to be honest with yourself.
- Determine where you want to be. Be positive as you do this.
- Keep goals SMART:
- Time Bound
- Be accountable to someone. Talk about your goals to others, ask a friend to follow up with you, and write a letter to yourself so, at the very least, you are accountable to yourself.
- Break larger goals into smaller steps. If your goal has more than 5 steps, your goal may be too big or too broad, and it may be better to convert it into 2 goals instead.
- As you narrow down the steps to your goals, be realistic and figure out where your barriers or pitfalls will be and how you will overcome them. This is where essential oils will be the most useful. Modern Essentials™ can be a great tool in helping you discover ways essential oils can be used to help you overcome the barriers and pitfalls that may prevent you from realizing your goals.
For example, let’s say your desire is to increase your physical activity, and you determine that your goal is to exercise 6 days a week for 30 minutes. Your first step may be to wake up at 6:30 am. One barrier to this step may be that you have a hard time waking up that early. Maybe you can’t wake up in the morning because you have a hard time falling asleep at night. Maybe you are too anxious at nights or you have a hard time breathing or you just need something to help you relax. Once you determine the reason, you can look in Modern Essentials™ for some essential oils to try.
Here is a worksheet you can use to help you set your goal, determine your steps, and figure out the barriers and how you can overcome them. You can also use this paper to hold yourself accountable and track the results of your success.
Teaching a Class on Health and Wellness with Modern Essentials™
Last Wednesday morning, we taught a class at the AromaTools™ building in Pleasant Grove, UT, on this topic. We want to share the class with you so that you can learn and then be able to hold a class of your own to share this information with others.
In preparation for this class, do the following:
- Review this article and read Modern Essentials™, 7th Edition, pp. 66–74; 78–80.
- Print out a goal worksheet for everyone attending the class. You may want to print extras in case the attendees want to take more than one home.
- Be prepared with at least one Modern Essentials™ for your attendees to reference, though more than one copy is preferable. Old editions will work for referencing conditions.
When teaching this class, do the following:
- Start with an introduction to good nutrition, exercise, and setting goals.
- Brainstorm, as a group, ways you can improve your diet or be more physically active.
- Allow participants time to fill out the goal worksheet, and look up ways in Modern Essentials™ to overcome potential barriers by incorporating the use of essential oils.
- Encourage discussion and participation by handing out nutritious snacks such as apples or mandarin oranges when comments are made.
- Provide essential oil and fruit–infused water with strawberry and/or lemon slices and lemon essential oil.
Modern Essentials™: A Contemporary Guide to the Use of Essential Oils, 7th Edition, pp. 66–74; 78–80